A Braunton boy has camped out in his garden for more than 40 nights for North Devon Hospice – and has vowed to continue until lockdown is over.
Max Woosey, aged just 10, has stayed outside in every weather and has already raised almost £1,000 since he began his camping vigil at the end of March.
The challenge was inspired by the care given to Rick, a family friend, by the hospice before he passed away earlier this year.
Max’s mum Rachael Woosey says she is proud of his determination to do something that will help others.
She said: “He has no intention of giving up, and especially now he can see the sponsorship going up and up. That’s giving him extra determination to see it through and raise as much as possible for the hospice.
“He started his camp out on March 28 and straight away he said he’d do it for the whole of lockdown, which at that point was only three weeks.
“Of course, it’s been extended again and again, but he’s never shown any sign of wanting to give in, despite the wind and the rain! We’re just so incredibly proud of him.
“Our friend Rick gave Max the tent as a gift before he passed away. Now he’s using that to camp out and raise money for the hospice, who cared for Rick so wonderfully in his final weeks.
“We’d known Rick and his wife Sue ever since we moved in opposite them, more than six years ago.
“Sadly, he lost Sue to cancer a couple of years ago, and the hospice were involved in her care too.
“Then earlier this year Rick became ill and it was clear he didn’t have long left. He was desperate to stay at home for his final weeks, and the hospice team helped us to make that happen.”
A team of Rick’s friends rallied around to help provide him with virtually round-the-clock care in his home, but Rachael says this was something entirely new to them.
She said: “I felt completely out of my depth, because I’ve never been involved with caring for someone at the end of life, so when North Devon Hospice came along it was a huge relief. They were so calm and patient. They remembered all our names, and made sure that we were all okay, as well as Rick.
“It actually made the whole experience a real privilege. He even said to me, ‘I’ve really enjoyed this last two weeks.’ Even though he was bed bound and in pain, we had some wonderful conversations and some real laughs too.”
Stephen Roberts, chief executive of the hospice, praised Max’s incredible determination: “Everyone at the hospice is blown away by what this inspiring 10-year-old is doing.
“For such a young lad to care so much about helping others is heart-warming. Every pound he raises is vital right now, because of course the demand for our hospice care has risen considerably, but the ability to raise funds has been decimated due to the current situation.”
To sponsor Max and encourage him during his lockdown camp out, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/max-woosey1 .